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Pro: Real trees provide life, aroma

By JR Ortega
Dec. 5, 2011 at 6:05 a.m.

Daniel Loa, left, and Travis Leal carry a purchased tree out of the tent to a customer's car at Holiday Hills Christmas Trees in the parking lot of the Victoria Mall. Loa has been working at the seasonal store for about five years and says that he loves every minute of it.

The truth about real Christmas trees

Anywhere from 25 million to 30 million Christmas trees are sold each year in the United States.

There are more than 4,000 local Christmas tree recycling programs in the United States.

For each tree that is harvested, one to three seedlings are planted the following spring.

The top Christmas tree-producing states are Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington.

SOURCE: National Christmas Tree Association

the debate

To be real or to be fake; that is the question.

Every Christmas, thousands of families either lug out stored-away artificial trees or head under the tents of their city's local live tree seller in hopes of finding that perfect tree.

But which is the way to go?

As you begin to decorate this holiday season, take into consideration some of the pros and cons each type of tree has.

Tracey Gregorcyk stood with her arms crossed, a hand delicately covering her mouth.

"What about that one?" she asked, pointing to a small 3- to 5-foot Christmas tree under the Holiday Hills Christmas Tree tent.

For Gregorcyk, a Refugio resident, Christmas has always been about the real tree - the tradition, as she called it.

A fake tree to her is well - fake.

"Just the smell of it," she said, smiling.

Dina Poland, owner of Renken's Nursery in Victoria, feels the same way as Gregorcyk when it comes to the aroma of a tree.

"For me, it's a God thing," Poland said. "God created the tree."

Poland has owned the nursery since 1989 and usually sells about 200 trees a year. By mid-December, she is usually out of stock.

The main complaint she has heard from those who do not want real trees is how it dries up and the needles it leaves behind.

Poland recommends keeping the tree maintained by having it sit in water so that it is constantly moisturized.

Also, making sure the vents from your heater are not drying out the tree is important, she said.

Other than that, trees are relatively easy to maintain.

Real Christmas trees are also recyclable, but fake trees, once thrown away, are not biodegradable, which is truly a hazard to the environment, Poland said.

"I'm all about natural," she said.

Gregorcyk finally decided on a tree.

She's going with a small one that she will place on the table inside her new home.

Gregorcyk will never do fake, she said.

She watched as one of the helpers shook the loose needles from the tree.

"Real is always better," she said, smiling.

For the con side of this article, click here.

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